EXPLORE Our Programs

Curriculum

List of 11 items.

  • English/Language Arts

    In kindergarten through eighth grade, the overall theme of our language arts and English programs is to inspire in students a lifelong passion for reading and writing. Students learn to negotiate and comprehend new literacies, understand the social nature of literacy, be versed in critical literacy, and be discerning critics of media, the arts, visual and digital texts. Our classes are designed to develop fluent readers, effective writers, critical thinkers, engaging speakers, and attentive listeners. These skills are the backbone of academic success across all disciplines at SCDS.
  • Mathematics

    The goal of our math program is to instill in students a confidence and enthusiasm for math. Students engage in exciting, challenging, interactive lessons that contain new topics, exploration, practice, and assessment. Each lesson is connected to prior knowledge and the skills are reviewed constantly as they are spiraled back into the curriculum. Ongoing learning is presented with time provided for practice between each new concept. Students in every grade are engaged in extensive hands-on projects that develop their natural curiosity about mathematical ideas. This brings the use of math into their real-life experience. 

    The core K-8 math curriculum is built around five major math proficiencies: 
    • Understanding: Comprehending mathematical concepts, operations, relations, and knowing what mathematical symbols, diagrams, and procedures mean. 
    • Computing: Carrying out mathematical procedures, such as adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing numbers flexibly, accurately, efficiently, and appropriately. 
    • Applying: Being able to formulate problems mathematically and devise strategies for solving them using concepts and procedures appropriately. 
    • Reasoning: Using logic to explain and justify a solution to a problem or to extend reasoning from something known to something not yet known. 
    • Engaging: Seeing mathematics as sensible, useful, doable, and fascinating. 

    Through positive encouragement, higher level challenges, and excitement around the usefulness and beauty of math, all students are challenged to reach their full math potential.
  • Science

    Building on children’s innate curiosity, the science program at SCDS fosters a sense of wonder for the complexities of our physical and natural world. Laboratory, classroom, garden, and outdoor experiences develop critical-thinking and problem-solving skills that help students appreciate the relevance of scientific principles in everyday life. Our process-oriented program emphasizes hands-on activities, laboratory investigations, cooperative work, and collaborative study. Field trips, guest speakers, multimedia presentations, and free exploration enhance the learning experiences at each grade level. Science is a tool for critical understanding and analysis and is taught as a way to encourage observation and questioning as it deepens students’ understanding of the world.
  • History/Social Studies

    Our history/social studies program aims to broaden students' understanding of how they fit into society and how they can contribute to the future success of local and global communities. Students explore ideas and beliefs, identify features of societies, describe the roles of individuals, and recognize how society has shaped the world we live in today. History instruction integrates the process of listening, speaking, reading, and writing in meaningful contexts. Students engage in critical thinking skills early, and our students graduate having already begun to develop an abstract understanding of historical causality.
  • Social and Emotional Learning

    Character education has been one of the core tenets of SCDS since our school was founded in 1983. The social and emotional learning (SEL) program continues this strong tradition and integrates our community code into the curriculum. The common vocabulary of SEL is meant to permeate the school culture in order to enhance both social and emotional awareness. Specific competencies strengthened and developed in this program are: self-awareness, managing emotions, social awareness, relationship management, and decision-making skills. All units include role play, class discussion, reflective writing, reflective drawing, group activities, and team-building games.

    Self-awareness begins with building an emotional vocabulary and an array of techniques for introspection. This creates the foundation for recognizing and effectively working with emotions in a productive way. Social awareness extends the sphere of application to include interactions with others and develops strategies for building healthy relationships as well as dealing with conflict as it arises.

    Recent studies show that in classrooms where SEL is valued, greater academic risk-taking, concept retention, motivation, and trust occur. Our program uses an age appropriate spiraling curriculum to develop these skills according to the needs of each age group.
  • World Languages

    The primary goal of our world language program is to inspire students to become lifelong learners of other languages and cultures. One of the greatest gifts we can give children is the confidence and courage to pursue any language that may cross their paths in future education, employment, travel, or service to their community. SCDS has chosen Spanish and Mandarin Chinese as platforms with which to teach language acquisition because of their global significance and because they offer exposure to two very different language systems and cultures.

    Instruction is delivered using immersion methodology, simulating the way each of us acquired our first language: by associating sounds and written words with objects and ideas. Spanish or Mandarin is used as much as possible and is enhanced by pictures, actions, and other visual cues. This makes learning accessible to students at all levels, even though English translation is minimal.

    We place a high value on the cognitive and social benefits of language acquisition. Learning a second language at an early age has a positive effect on intellectual growth, enriches and enhances children’s mental development, promotes flexibility in thinking, gives students a better ear for listening, improves children’s understanding of their native language, gives students the ability to communicate with people they would otherwise not have the chance to know, opens the door to other cultures, and helps children understand and appreciate people from other backgrounds and countries.     
  • Visual Arts

    The main focus of our visual arts program is to expose students to the process, joys, and freedom of creating art. We foster a studio environment that invites open-ended interpretation, and students excel under the premise that we are all unique in our personal expressions of art.

    From kindergarten to eighth grade, students are taught the fundamentals of art—color, color theory, spatial balance, perspective, form, and design—through a variety of mediums including ceramics, drawing, painting, and sculpture. Art history introduces the concepts that have influenced art from generation to generation; the vocabulary of art builds analytical skills. Our students develop a basic understanding of the place art holds in our world, along with an appreciation for our rich artistic heritage.

    With two fully stocked art studios and an arts courtyard, the visual arts program gives students the opportunity to explore a wide range of media and techniques. Corridors, galleries, and classrooms are alive with students' artistic creations throughout the school year. Each spring we hold a Fine Arts Fair featuring excellent student work.
  • Music: Choral and Orchestral

    Taught by a team of instrumental and vocal specialists, music holds a place of high value at Sonoma Country Day School. Music exalts the human spirit and enhances the quality of life of any community, big or small. Musical potential exists in every human being, and the discipline and development that result from music training help students mature. Our program’s purpose is to awaken and develop the inherent musicality present in every child, not just the talented few.

    During the nine years they spend at Sonoma Country Day School, our students are involved in a variety of musical experiences, such as Orff-Schulwerk activities, Choir, Junior Band, Concert Band, Jazz Band, or Musical Theater. Those experiences not only teach musical skills, but also life skills such as cooperation, resilience, perseverance, critical thinking, nonverbal communication, and organization.

    By the time they graduate, our students read music and play a musical instrument. Their technical skills and understanding of the musical language allow them to perform in high school concert bands, jazz bands, orchestras, or choirs. Students in kindergarten through eighth grade benefit from practicing and performing in the 774-seat Jackson Theater.
  • Library and Media

    We want our students to value libraries, love books, and develop the media literacy necessary to effectively engage in the world. Research clearly demonstrates the importance of school libraries to students' academic growth. The SCDS K-8 library and information literacy program provides a scope and sequence of skills that encourages students to be passionate about reading and to gain understanding, experience, knowledge, and confidence in the access, evaluation, and use of information resources. It draws on California state standards for Library, Language Arts, and Social Studies, as well as the American Library Association standards for the 21st century learner. The library collection, fully catalogued through a software automation system, includes more than 8,000 titles, a print and online collection of circulating magazines, and a research database of full-text journals and newspapers, all available to SCDS families from anywhere with Internet access.
  • Motor Skills and Physical Education

    The goal of our physical education program is to create a nurturing environment that promotes physical well-being and a desire for lifelong fitness. We believe that physical education should leave a lasting, positive impression on every child through the skills and concepts that are taught and the personal influence of their teachers and coaches. Physical education classes are an opportunity for students to learn responsibility, time management, and how to be a contributing member of a team. Lessons incorporate good sportsmanship, ethics, and the components of the SCDS Community Code.
  • Outdoor Education

    The outdoor education program offers fourth through eighth grade students overnight experiences at Fort Ross State Historic Park on the Sonoma County coast, Angel Island State Park in the San Francisco Bay, Salt Point National Park, Ocean Song 4 Winds Ropes Course in Occidental, Annadel and Spring Lake Parks, Point Reyes National Seashore, Emigrant Wilderness near Yosemite in the Stanislaus National Forest, and the American River.

    On these trips students build confidence in caring for themselves and others. They learn to travel, navigate, observe, clean, and sleep in the wilderness without leaving behind any trace of themselves. Students make connections with nature as they engage in science, writing, literature, and math assignments. They disconnect from the “noise” of contemporary life, slow down, observe, and listen to their own ideas and those of their peers. More importantly, authentic challenges unique to nature cultivate our students’ capacities for ethical leadership, self-reliance, decision-making, and trust in their strengths, as well as those of their classmates and teachers. They confront their limitations, secure in the support of friends, teachers and the knowledge that others share similar challenges.

Sonoma Country Day School

4400 Day School Place
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
phone: 707.284.3200
fax: 707.284.3254
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We are…

The premier, fully accredited, independent TK-8 college preparatory school in Sonoma County. Located in northern Santa Rosa and proud home of The Jackson Theater, SCDS offers a challenging academic program rich in fine and performing arts, music, world languages, and social and emotional learning. For more than thirty years SCDS has been the school that brings learning to life.